The following is excerpted from Blissful Ignorance: The Art of Being an Entrepreneur, by Cassidy Phillips.

If you tolerate being a victim, you’ll always be a victim. If you tolerate what your parents or a teacher said to you as a child, you will always be a byproduct of their perception. A boss who hates you, an employee who takes advantage of you, a neighbor who always puts his trash can in front of your driveway—why do we tolerate these things?

Because it feels safer than standing up and saying no.

Most people will tolerate just about anything as long as they feel safe. That means they will get into average relationships, they’ll get into average jobs, and they'll design their life around average desires. No great risks, but no great joy either. Maybe it’s satisfying to them. I see it as sad. I believe you should always want more than what you have today.

For years, I tolerated people saying I was dumb, that I couldn’t perform at a university level, that I’d never have financial independence, or that I’d always be codependent on relationships and parental guidance. It took me a long time to realize that by tolerating their words, I’d accepted them as part of my identity.

That realization was what allowed me to say, “Screw it. I’m not going to be that person anymore. I’m choosing to risk everything in order to live my own life.”

In my family’s eyes, I was throwing away all the financial security that came with following in their footsteps. But by the time I was ready to start TriggerPoint, I was coming into it as a whole person with a purpose-driven path that I could translate into a global business.

Making change doesn’t mean you have to upend your entire life in one go. But you do have to make a conscious choice to accept what you’ve been passively accepting through toleration.

Realizing who and what I was allowed me to transform my life into a giving role. I had a very clear definition of the person who was in need of what I created with TriggerPoint. I knew how to communicate to that person because that person was me. I was talking to myself.

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A New Perspective

Companies fail when they neglect the simple fact that the customer is a person, and that person has a real problem they need to solve. That said, in order to become successful in your business and in life, you must understand how important it is to accept who you are today before you can accept who your customer is.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

1. Who are you?

Am I really living the life that makes me happy? When I shut my eyes and fall into a dream, do I see myself in the dream that is imitating my life, or am I doing something else? Am I happy, sad, angry, frustrated? Do I blame others vs. taking the blame? Do I blame myself so I don’t feel threatened by others?

2. Where are you?

Am I where I’m supposed to be in life, in my job, in my career? Is this where I envisioned myself as a kid? Am I clean and kept, or dirty and a slob?

3. Why are you?

The big question is, why am I who I am? Am I proud of me? Will I stand up for me? Am I a victim or an advocate? Did someone hurt me? Am I living out someone else’s life, or am I living out my life?

If you’re like most people, you have an inner dialogue of goals running through your head throughout the day. To turn those dreams into goals, you’ve got to say them out loud. To be clear, I am recommending talking to yourself throughout the day. Better still, look at yourself in the mirror while doing so.

This simple switch—speaking your who and what out loud—turns them into goals. It forces you to confront your reality, and to ask yourself if you really want to make a change.

People fear speaking aloud what they really feel, even to themselves. But like it or not, that’s who you are. Looking at yourself in the mirror and being vulnerable lets you know that there’s nothing wrong with you that you don’t have the power to change.

It’s up to you whether you use that vulnerable reality as a vehicle to success or as the reason never to pursue success. Either way, at least you’ve made a conscious choice.